Proverbs 31:4-8 ” Give beer to people who are dying and wine to those who are sad. Let them drink and forget their need and remember their misery no more. “ Obviously we need to get wine sales to the public in Heinz ASAP because with 2016’s schedule there may be some real sad-making days this fall on the Northside.
One of my real problems with Pitt football over the years is how they had treated the common fan when it came to purchasing alcohol at Heinz Field. Not only were we dragging ass in adopting this policy…:
…we were also enforcing an extremely prejudicial (or crass ) allowance policy that was already in effect.
Pitt ‘s previous stance was that if you paid the extortion fee of a “donation” (and I use that word in protest) you could then buy the much more expensive Club Seats and watch the game with a fully stocked and enclosed bar in your club’s section.
Don’t get me wrong here – there is absolutely nothing wrong with donating to the Pitt Athletic funds if you choose to do so. There is something seriously wrong when favors are withheld because you don’t do it and that is exactly what was happening.
To Pitt’s and Chancellor Gallagher’s credit that has now changed. I say the Chancellor Gallagher because while the “Beer Sales Now Dammit!!” was recognized and carried forward by Athletic Director Scott Barnes and the new Fan Experience Committee, the final decision
rested with Gallagher and the University’s General Council’s Chief Legal Counsel Geovette Washington.
I love that first name – it is like if George Washington drove a Corvette..
There are some caveats attached to the change. Students will be limited to one beer per purchase visit so they can’t buy five at a time and drink them by themselves. As per the Trib this morning:
“Students, who wear wristbands to games for identification, will be limited to one beer per purchase. No beer will be sold in seat areas.
Also, Barnes said he will conduct a staff meeting every Monday to discuss the previous home game’s beer sales and any problems that might have erupted.
But Barnes expects no significant problems. He said a study conducted by West Virginia, which has sold beer at its home games since 2011, suggested binge drinking is reduced. West Virginia’s campus police department reported sharp declines in incident reports and arrests on home football Saturdays from 2010-14, the New York Times reported.”
You have to think that the college football administrative world sat up and took notice when beer sales in Morgantown didn’t result in Milan Puskar stadium being torn down by drunken and angry fans. Although it would have been cool to see what would have happen with 13-9 if they sold booze during the game. Rich Rod might have been lynched and left hanging from a goalpost.
The fact that arrests and disciplinary issues on gameday actually went down after beer sales were instituted at WVU is pretty amazing over all. I have degrees in both psychology and sociology and can’t for the life of me figured out how the psychopathic WVU fans changed to somewhat positive (or less negative in their case) behavior as a group when given access to even more alcohol.
Hell – the passage of not one but two laws trying to restrict the fans poor behavior after the games didn’t even work earlier:
Morgantown, West Virginia is synonymous with couch burning. It’s the home of West Virginia University, and when they win an important sports contest, lose an important sports contest, or if the U.S. military kills Osama Bin Laden, people take to the streets to burn couches. Targeting what they called a “typical offender”—”a white male, 18 to 22 years old and usually intoxicated”—four years ago the city made couch burning a felony.
But the threat of one to three years in jail apparently wasn’t enough to deter offenders, so the Morgantown city council is back with a new law. Yesterday they passed a ban on outdoor upholstered furniture, operating under the theory that fewer couches will be burned if they’re not readily accessible on porches and in yards.
(Emphasis mine because that is the most beautiful bit of skewed logic I have seen in politics in sometime and that’s saying a lot.)
Obvious the local furniture retailers lobbied long and hard against that lawmaking. I wonder if couches are in less fear for their lives now that the second law has been passed.
But back to Pitt where we belong –
Let’s do credit Scott Barnes also along with the University administrators. We may need to give him the lion’s share of the thanks from us Plebeians. When he was hired he said he was going to undertake some major changes in the Athletic Dept to make the fan’s gameday experience better and he’s made good on that…he really has hit the ground running since last summer.
I especially like that he’s not only forward looking but is actually delivering on some of his early promises to the students, alumni and fans. It is one thing to make cosmetic changes and poor marketing decisions like Steve Pederson – remember this one?
“Second, the Pitt Script logo and school colors (Royal Blue and mustard gold at the time) were ditched in favor of a Navy blue and Vegas Gold combination complete with a Dinosaur-looking Panther Head logo by graphic designer Peter Moore. Pitt football no longer looked like Pitt football, it looked like some odd-stepchild of Notre Dame and Navy with what many called a dinosaur-looking Panther (aka DinoCat) on its helmets. In the process, Pederson insisted Pitt be rechristened “Pittsburgh” because he believed the average Pittsburgher would embrace the team – not just Pitt alumni or long-time fans.”
But it is a whole other thing to really reach out to those Pitt associates mentioned above and work hard to get a solid and detailed handle on what direction Pitt athletics needs to head going into the future. In other words, Scott Barnes is on a mission to drag Pitt into the 21st century and Gallagher is giving him the funding and permissions to do so.
I wrote a piece a few days ago about the Athletic Department’s aggressive plans as found in the The Strategic Plan for Athletics 2016-2021. As interesting as that Strategic Plan is, and badly needed also, I had a bit of a cynic’s edge when writing about it. Well, people who have read my stuff will know that I do that sometimes.
To have this beer sales announcement so soon after rolling out the Strategic Plan shows to me that Barnes and Co. have taken changing the culture of Pitt athletics very seriously. I’m impressed more; cynical less.
To dovetail with this announcement, and speaking of the future, I don’t believe we are going to see an on-campus stadium in the future, perhaps ever, in Oakland. It just isn’t feasible; hasn’t been and won’t be. It wasn’t two days ago and now it is even more unlikely.
Why you ask? Because one of the main complaints (misconception actually) about Heinz Field was that Pitt didn’t have enough leverage as tenants of Heinz Field to make decisions like the one we just saw them make.
I had read, and had many long conversations about, the general belief of if we built an on-campus stadium we could sell beer to the fans as there would be no overseers or landlords to content with. But the fact is that there is even less of a need for one now. The vast majority of fans want beer in the stadium and regardless of the few who didn’t it was inevitable at some point.
But as it stands now selling beer at Heinz during the Pitt games just bolsters the argument to keep the current arrangement in place and do it again later; to share another stadium or build one outside Oakland when Heinz becomes obsolete.
That problem just flew out the window and ain’t coming back. An on-campus stadium for Pitt and situated in Oakland is a pipe dream. Now, if Pitt buys land elsewhere then that land by definition becomes part of the campus. That I could see happening.
Good moves all around on Pitt’s part. This announcement yesterday shows trust in the fans to accept the change and behave accordingly; it will turn a supposed $500K profit annually and maybe even most importantly will get more fans away from their tailgate parties and into the stands for the 1st quarter of play.
In the past you just knew a large amount of fans were still tailgating when the game started and were forced to make a booze-sotted decision to either stay and get more of a buzz on… or enter Heinz to watch the game and spend three dry hours until tailgate time again.
That issue has been resolved, the decision made easier and I think selling beer will show benefits in future ticket sales even in Pitt football’s down years… if we ever have one again that is.
We don’t want to see this again do we? We won’t with Beer Sales!On a separate note: If you have been reading these articles and enjoying them, and I do hope you have been, please click on the “Follow” button on the left side of the front page and all new articles will be brought to you attention via email.
And thanks for a great week of the new blog – the response by all has been very gratifying.